British astronaut Tim Peake will perform his first spacewalk on Friday, January 15th along with NASA’s Tim Kopra, and Peake is already trying on his space suit and ensuring a proper fit before going through with it.
The two Tims will be carrying out a repair for one of the International Space Station’s power units that has been down since last November, causing electrical shortages aboard the International Space Station and preventing some experiments from being carried out.
“Our primary task will be to replace a failed Solar Shunt Unit, which transfers electrical power generated by the solar panels,” Major Peake said in a statement. “If the spacewalk is successful, this will restore the International Space Station to 100 per cent of its operational capability.”
This is the first time that Peake has ever been on the outside of the International Space Station on a spacewalk mission, however he did assist Tim Kopra and Scott Kelly from within the International Space Station when they went on their most recent spacewalk to fix a jammed mobile transporter due to a stuck brake handle.
In repairing the power unit, the International Space Station will get all of the power that it’s supposed to be getting, and this means more of the team’s experiments can be started. Peake will also have to lay down some communications cable before going back into the International Space Station and Kopra will be tasked with replacing a valve on the outside of the International Space Station.
A typical spacewalk can last the better part of 5-8 hours. These missions are dangerous and involve leaving the International Space Station inside of a pressurized space suit and being tethered to the International Space Station in case of an emergency.
The astronauts will have to be sealed inside of an air-lock chamber before leaving the International Space Station so that exiting from the vehicle doesn’t leak the rest of the astronauts’ air supply into the vacuum of space.
Peake is excited and actively sharing his photos and thoughts on his Twitter:
Space teams from Earth will stay on the radio with the astronauts as they perform the spacewalk to guide them step-by-step on the repair process.
Source: The Guardian